Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 13th Jan 2010 00:27 UTC
Google So, I was about to go to bed when major news regarding Google and China hit my browser. Google has stated on its blog that after a number of attacks upon Google's servers, and attempted cracking of GMail accounts from Chinese human rights activists, the company is thinking of ceasing its operations in China. Google will, in any case, cease censoring search results on Google.cn.
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RE: Less evil?
by boblowski on Wed 13th Jan 2010 11:55 UTC in reply to "Less evil?"
boblowski
Member since:
2007-07-23

Well, they may be annoyed at being double-crossed by the Chinese gov't, having censored their search results but still getting cracked by what are likely gov't agents.

You underestimate the nationalistic (and ethnic) sentiments of the Han majority in China. Go to a cybercafe in Beijing and ask somebody there why exactly it is the average Chinese citizen dislikes their pro-democracy activists. The answer might surprise you. Government incentives are not needed, just the government's acquiescence.

But being behind Baidu in the Chinese search market might also have something to do with it -- this just may have simply been the proverbial straw.

I highly doubt it. I don't want to be too cynical, but personally I think this should be seen in light of Google's recent marketing slip-ups (regarding the privacy of their users). Their will be some small changes in China's censorship policy, Google looks good, and business will be as usual.

There is however a deeper issue here. We in the 'free and democratic world' tend to have a somewhat overly romantic image of the power of information and access to information in authoritarian countries. Even if the Chinese government would stop those 'inelegant' censoring efforts, it's far from sure that the then available information would lead to any societal changes. I would not be surprised if it would actually lead to an even harder oppression of dissenting voices, because the dissenting voices would still be minority voices and as such are only proof of the necessity of the authoritarian sentiments. Only if those authoritarian sentiments fade, does free information have a chance of changing anything.

(For another interesting point of view: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2009/11/how-dictators-watch-us-on... )

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Less evil?
by someone on Wed 13th Jan 2010 15:04 in reply to "RE: Less evil?"
someone Member since:
2006-01-12


You underestimate the nationalistic (and ethnic) sentiments of the Han majority in China. Go to a cybercafe in Beijing and ask somebody there why exactly it is the average Chinese citizen dislikes their pro-democracy activists. The answer might surprise you. Government incentives are not needed, just the government's acquiescence.


That's also a gross simplification of people's sentiments in China. Otherwise, terms like "harmonized", "50-cent party" and "very erotic, very violent" wouldn't be so popular on Chinese forums (and not just forums discussing politics and news).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Less evil?
by boblowski on Wed 13th Jan 2010 15:47 in reply to "RE[2]: Less evil?"
boblowski Member since:
2007-07-23


That's also a gross simplification of people's sentiments in China. Otherwise, terms like "harmonized", "50-cent party" and "very erotic, very violent" wouldn't be so popular on Chinese forums (and not just forums discussing politics and news).

Yes, I'm familiar with those terms, but distrust of government and a preference for clear authoritarian societal structures are not mutually exclusive. Very few Chinese took issue with Jackie Chan's remarks regarding the 'chaos' in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Or to put it in perspective: most GOP members profess a profound distrust for anything government, but seem to have no problem with increased spending for a 'secure' (the Chinese government would call it 'harmonic') society.

Edited 2010-01-13 15:48 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Less evil?
by StaubSaugerNZ on Wed 13th Jan 2010 18:11 in reply to "RE: Less evil?"
StaubSaugerNZ Member since:
2007-07-13


You underestimate the nationalistic (and ethnic) sentiments of the Han majority in China. Go to a cybercafe in Beijing and ask somebody there why exactly it is the average Chinese citizen dislikes their pro-democracy activists. The answer might surprise you. Government incentives are not needed, just the government's acquiescence.


The Han are not the only people in China, don't you get it! Of course the Han will agree, they're on top oppressing the rest of their minorities - or didn't you know that? As others have pointed out, we form the opinions based on what is presented to us by our media. This is why the censorship in China (and elsewhere) is actually a big deal. Of course people side with their government if they're being presented with a particular point of view (reinforcing cultural tendencies to defer to authority) - it allows unscrupulous governments and businessmess to exploit this.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Less evil?
by boblowski on Wed 13th Jan 2010 18:53 in reply to "RE[2]: Less evil?"
boblowski Member since:
2007-07-23

The Han are not the only people in China, don't you get it! Of course the Han will agree, they're on top oppressing the rest of their minorities - or didn't you know that?

If you read my post again, you'll see we're in perfect agreement on this. No need to accuse me of ignorance, I'm very well aware of the ethnic make-up of China.

Of course people side with their government if they're being presented with a particular point of view (reinforcing cultural tendencies to defer to authority).

Not quite, the interesting point put forward by 'someone' is that most or many Chinese are very well aware of criticism on their local and national government and in many cases even subscribe to this criticism. The 'they are ignorant, we enlighten then, all will be well' line of thought doesn't explain, let alone change, anything.

Reply Parent Score: 1